TAMPA BAY — The Hillsborough Sheriff's Office says it’s looking into five fraud complaints filed by Olympus Pool Customers over pool projects that sit unfinished in their backyards.
The Pasco and Polk County Sheriff’s Offices confirmed earlier this month that they too are looking into similar allegations.
The company’s owner James Staten told I-Team Investigator Jackie Callaway, “I know we have committed no crime. Just because someone makes a report or tells a story it does not mean that it is true.”
The I-team found hundreds of pools sitting unfinished across the Tampa Bay area and some of those customers say they’ve been waiting a year.
Staten blames COVID supply chain issues and the explosion in pool sales during the pandemic. “The conditions that arose during the pandemic, instead of increasing 20 to 30 percent we doubled in size,: he said.
Staten says he's working to finish projects delayed by the pandemic. But some customers complain they still can't get answers about their jobs and others say they are facing liens filed against their homes by subcontractors who claim Olympus hasn’t paid them for their work.
Mark Maley is one of those customers. Documents show he paid in full for his $64,000 nearly complete pool. But this week a subcontractor filed a $3,500 dollar lien against Maley’s home because he said Olympus hasn’t paid.
“I've called the company every day two or three times a day and no one answers the phone,” Maley said.
Staten says he’s reached out to the subcontractor and has been “in contact the last couple of days at least a half dozen times to get that resolved.”
To add to its legal troubles Olympus now faces a $1.1 million lawsuit in Pasco County. SCP Distributors LLC, the largest pool supply company in the nation, says the company owes them money for supplies.
Staten says he’s paid SCP $150,000 in the past month to try and catch up. The lawsuit claims that Staten was supposed to make five monthly payments of $191,000 beginning on April 16 and a final payment of $188,325.10.
SCP’s attorney told Jackie they chose to take Olympus to court rather than file liens against individual homeowners.
Staten says they've made progress on dozens of projects in just the last two weeks and that they've received final inspections on more than 15 pools in the last 10 days, a pace he's determined to continue. “We are going to get all these pools done.” Said Staten